Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
FredCDobbs

Black Widow (1954), beginning of the end of the classic era

Recommended Posts

 

No, You were not the only one who kept thinking "Who is the BLACK WIDOW.

 

 

I too, throughout the whole movie kiept wodering who the BLACK WIDOW is supposed to be, very disappointing !

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}

> Also, am I the only one that thought the title had nothing to do with the plot of the movie?

Good to see you back.

 

I think they were trying to sieze on the aspect of a deadly female who uses, then devours, her mate. Entymology not being one of my strong points, I'm not sure if black widow spiders actually do this. I know praying mantises do, but The Deadly Mantis had already been done (?) and The Praying Mantis just doesn't have that "oomph" as a title that Black Widow does, nor does The Shrew or The She-Weasel.

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Jan 2, 2013 12:17 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I'm glad someone missed me! (LOL) And poor GARDNER wasnt even married, so couldnt become a widow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Also, am I the only one that thought the title had nothing to do with the plot of the movie?

 

True. A Black Widow is what the media and Hollywood movie titles call a wife who kills her husband.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In case you missed the main point of my OP, this 1954 movie is a 1950s crossover film. Old 1930s and 40s actors, but with brightly lit Technicolor and ultra wide screen Cinemascope. Classic old-time actors in a new age of modern cinema visual techniques. I prefer the old pre-color shadows, and pre-Cinemascope diagonal lines. And the old close-ups with men and women very close together, squeezed into a 4:3 frame. That stuff was hot! But in this movie, with the Cinemascope, they shout at each other on opposite sides of the screen. :)

 

There were a few of these crossover films made like that in the early to mid-1950s.

 

If it had been made 4 or 5 years earlier, it might have been made as a good 4:3 b&w film noir movie.

 

Or, look at it this way: Imagine SUNSET BOULEVARD, instead of being made by Paramount in 1950, imagine it being made by Fox in 1954, in Technicolor and Cinemascope. :)

 

I think this film would have been better, especially with this cast, if it had been made by some other studio 5 years earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*I think this film would have been better, especially with this cast, if it had been made by some other studio 5 years earlier.*

 

Well Fox in the late 40s and into the early 50s made some of the best noirs around. And by 1954, all the studios were using Cinemascope or coming out with their own widescreen process.

 

I do agree about the closeups. But in the early days of Cinemascope, it was like the first days of talkies: static cameras instead of fluid camerawork, and closeups were considered disruptive, especially jarring for the new ratios.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I do agree about the closeups. But in the early days of Cinemascope, it was like the first days of talkies: static cameras instead of fluid camerawork, and closeups were considered disruptive, especially jarring for the new ratios.

 

This is obviously part of the reason for using a long shot more often in some of these films. But it is not always the case. Some directors favor long shots and long takes, because they feel it creates more realism.

 

When I attended USC, and I am sure lzcutter might be able to add more to this since she went to the same film school I did, we were told that close-ups should not be overused. They should be saved for key moments in the narrative to build tension or to reveal something dramatic in a climactic moment.

 

I do think some of today's directors, especially those working in television, over-use the close-up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like something should be said somewhere about how incredibly *tacky* a lot of the visuals in Fox Films got to be post-1950.

 

In the late 1940's, there's a generic, slightly anesthetic, rather maudlin look about the Fox sets and visuals, I've said this numerous times, but here's one more: at MGM and Warner Bros. you (often) get the impression that there was no roof to their mansion, apartment and hotel sets. At Fox, you always get the impression the ceiling was 12 feet overhead. Not necessarily claustrophobic, but confined.

 

In the 1950's, Fox began overcompensating for this with some garish, gilt-framed, deeply Roccoco set-dressings and costumes in *THE MOST HIDEOUS HUES OF CLASHING COLORS.* I was watching Hello, Dolly! last night and thinking "Gah. even in the late sixties they were doing it." If you ask me to break down the look of a color Fox Film from the mid-fifties on, I would say *"lots of red and pink."*

 

As I've said, the costumes in Black Widow are fantastic- but a lot of the sets and colors are *GARISH* in that trademark Fox form of garishness that no other studio could top (not that they would want to.)

 

see also: There's No Business Like Show Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (where the garishness works), How to Marry a Millionaire, An Affair to Remember, Call me Madam, and even The King and I.

 

ps- actually, it just occurred to me that the Swanee part of the Born in a Trunk number from the 1954 A Star is Born tops anything Fox did in terms of garishness.

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Jan 2, 2013 1:29 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly, Fred, but the story would've been the same (not too mysterious).........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, in this type of story, the author or director can wait until the last 5 minutes to decide who he wants to have done it. It doesn't really matter, like the end of a Charlie Chan film, with 5 suspects. They all could have done it for various reasons. :)

 

I guess if they had made it in the 1930s, Van Heflin could have assembled all the main characters in his living room at the end, and announced to everyone that "The murderer of that girl is IN THIS ROOM right now!" And the cameraman and editor could have quickly shown close-ups of all the suspects, who all act as if they are guilty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They could have picked Gene Tierney as the murderer if they wanted, if this was an old Thin Man movie they might have done it, lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

<I was watching Hello, Dolly! last night and thinking "Gah. even in the late sixties they were doing it." If you ask me to break down the look of a color Fox Film from the mid-fifties on, I would say *"lots of red and pink."* >

 

 

. . . and lavender, purple . . . Same thing ran through my mind last evening. (Esp. Irene Malloy's dress toward the end. Yuk!)

 

 

Whenever this film airs, I tune in for the last 20 minutes or so -- to watch Streisand and Matthau during the "So Long, Dearie" song. I love those scenes. (But there's much of the film that I do not have an appreciation for.)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would certainly have been a flat ending, considering how little screen time she had (LOL)...... (Gene)

 

Edited by: Hibi on Jan 2, 2013 3:27 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just saw 1953 *Inferno* which is a Fox version of one of these murder movies and luckily they couldn't dress up the cactus out in the desert. It is true that when watching these many seem to have too many colors, kind of like Mozart adding too many notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the type of plot that each time one of the suspects is discovered to have lied, there was a reason for the lie that was NOT related to the murder. i.e. the person was covering something up but that doesn't mean they were covering up a murder. In fact I started to wonder if the plot was going to have Tierney's character NOT be at her moms the day of the killing. i.e. that she was in NYC that day and thus she could than be yet another suspect! Yea, crazy but not really based on how the plot was set up.

 

Possible spoiler:

 

 

NOTE: I did NOT see the ending so I don't know who the actual killer was. I had to go to band practice and I was late as it was because of this movie!. I had to leave when Ginger's character was exposed and there was the flashback of her going to see Nancy. BUT, as noted, that doesn't mean she was the killer. i.e. maybe there was yet another plot twist???? If she wasn't the killer than the only one left was the young man (brother), that was in love with Nancy. In fact I had picked him from the very start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RO mentioned the film won 3 Oscars, but costumes wasnt one of them (I bet Sharaff was royally ****). Does anyone know what won that year? (I assumed Dolly had won in that category, but I was wrong...)

 

Edited by: Hibi on Jan 2, 2013 4:03 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! I was too lazy to look it up...............I knew it had to be some historical epic........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}The murder was committed by the plumber in the billiard room with a wrench.

At least a wrench in the billiard room makes some sense, you know, maybe the pool table needed some adjusting. I could never understand what on earth a wrench, or a rope or a lead pipe for that matter, would be doing in the ballroom or the dining room or the library.

 

I mean, who needs a rope to read a book? Who eats with a lead pipe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=dpompper wrote:}{quote}

> <I was watching Hello, Dolly! last night and thinking "Gah. even in the late sixties they were doing it." If you ask me to break down the look of a color Fox Film from the mid-fifties on, I would say *"lots of red and pink."* >

>

> . . . and lavender, purple . . . Same thing ran through my mind last evening. (Esp. Irene Malloy's dress toward the end. Yuk!)

> *YES!*

That thing was *befugly.*

(Streisand probably demanded it.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
×
×
  • Create New...